Talk:Wnt signaling pathway

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This article was part of an assignment from Saint Louis University in Spring 2013 (see the course page for more details).


I think the first sentence doesn't seem to be a definition of "Wnt signaling pathway", "The Wnt signaling pathway is a network of proteins that passes signals from receptors on the surface of the cell through the cytoplasm and ultimately to the cell's nucleus where the signaling cascade leads to the expression of target genes.", rather it is a definition of "signaling pathway" (not specifically to Wnt). Chúc Thành (talk) 16:36, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

It's an introduction. Wikipedia is written for the general reader, WP:MOS, not the specialist. That can be a high school student studying biology for the first time, a patient who was just diagnosed with a disease that involves the Wnt pathway, a social worker who helps cancer patients, etc. Before you define a term, you have to explain it in terms that a general reader can understand. Ordinary readers don't know what a word like "ligand" means, so if you want to use it, you have to explain it first. Then you can define it. Ordinary readers don't know the significance of Frizzled or Disheveled, so there's no point in using those terms without explaining them first. You can't always explain everything in terms a layman can understand, but you must do so in the introduction. And it wouldn't hurt to explain it in layman's terms whenever possible.
WP:WORDS "All else being equal, try to use as common, unshortened, simple and concrete words as possible. Using needlessly uncommon, advanced, shortened and abstract words will only make Wikipedia less readable." --Nbauman (talk) 19:03, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

It is incorrect to say that wnt signalling was first identified for its role in carcinogenesis. Wnt signalling was first identified in Drosophila in 1923, and all the early studies of its function used Drosophila. The original mutation, from which all studies of wnt have followed, is wingless. You should acknowledge the role of Drosophila in characterizing the wnt pathways,as it remains an important model system for teasing apart the many components of the several pathways. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:02, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

Title spelling[edit]

Signaling or signalling? I believe that "signaling" is the more universally accepted spelling. Mr.Bip 20:45, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Signalling is British spelling, Signaling is American spelling. Neither is more "universal" - it depends entirely on the Journal you are publishing in and the consensus reached by Wikipedians for a particular article. Biochemza, 22:16, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Wnt pathways[edit]

Wnt signaling occurs by diffents pathways, but only the canonical pathway seems to be illustrated here. What about que non-canonical pathways such as PCP and Ca2+?

I have a textbook that says that disheveld's involvement is unknown and GSK3 and CK1 phosphorylate lrp to recruit axin to the membrane for the complex inactivation. is that right? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Greeny12m (talkcontribs) 11:47, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Dishevelled and Wnt signaling: is the nucleus the final frontier? seems to indicate that some knowledge is there "Yet, when the basic conclusion of a nuclear localization and function of Dsh is accepted, several questions remain. If Dsh function is required in the nucleus for canonical Wnt signaling, why is no hyperactivation of the pathway observed by targeting Dsh to the nucleus?" Rich Farmbrough, 14:55, 18 May 2011 (UTC).

Talk of canonical vs non-canonical is a useless dichotomy. (talk) 16:55, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

In the long term - and especially from a researcher's point of view - I suspect this is likely to be true. But WP needs to reflect that language that is used in the field by experts at the current time. Biolprof (talk) 16:36, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Nusse, Roeland[edit]

First name added based on -- Jo3sampl (talk) 01:05, 16 June 2011 (UTC)


I'm not an expert here, but I saw this MIT lecture by Ed Scolnick: In it, he claims this bio-chemical pathway (the Wnt signaling pathway) is emerging as important in the pathogenesis of psychiatric illness. It's where lithium is known to work, and three genes found in association with mental illness are related to different steps in the pathway. There seems to be no mention of psychiatry or mental illness currently in the article so I wanted to point it out for those working on the article. —Pengo 02:38, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Advertising/Not relevant reference to Stanford school of medicine[edit]

The study is neither recent (2007) nor is the reference to the actual peer journal article but instead to the press release. I will change this so it is more objective unless someone has other opinions? Jazzvibes (talk) 02:54, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

Organization/Additional Information[edit]

The different pathways,canonical and non-canonical, would be better understood if they were both under the mechanism section of this article. Both pathways are mechanisms and placing them in the same section would allow for a better cross comparison of the two.

Also, for the genes and proteins under the members section, it might be useful to give a brief description alongside each in order to guide users to more specific information. I hope these are useful suggestions. Gpruett2 (talk) 02:41, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Comments from Jnims[edit]

These comments are intended for Gpruett2 as part of our course assignment.

First of all: excellent job with the writing of your new sections. You have successfully conveyed some very dense information into a format appropriate for this encyclopedia, which is no mean feat! Now, onto the suggestions: most of them are for sections that you didn't write, which naturally need a bit more work. I've tried to keep them in the order of the article layout and include the relevant section name, but there may be some mistakes and omissions.

Minor edit suggestions[edit]

  • Make the Wnt/WNT name consistent throughout the article, and italicize gene names (see last bullet point in this section).
  • Add link(s) to study/ies about mouse (murine? The phrase "mouse breast cancer" seems odd to me, but I'm not a cancer biologist.) breast cancer in lead section.
  • This sentence in the "Wnt signaling proteins" section should be reworded to avoid redundancy: "Following the signal sequence, they carry a conserved pattern of 23-24 cysteine residues, on which palmitoylation occurs on a cysteine residue."
  • Remove the word "commonly" in this sentence ("Foundation of Wnt signaling"): "These proteins are commonly associated with embryonic development and oncogenesis." Likewise, remove "all" from this sentence (same section): "All Wnt signaling usually begins when one of these proteins binds the N-terminal extra-cellular cysteine-rich domain of a Frizzled (Fz) family receptor."
  • Remove the word "likewise" in this sentence (same section): "Likewise, if the heterotrimeric G protein is used, an entirely different pathway is activated."
  • Clarify this sentence (same section): "In mammals, there are three types of Dsh proteins (Dsh-1, Dish-2, and Dish-3); however, different Dsh are also present in all organisms." Does this mean that mammals have additional Dsh proteins, or that non-mammalian organisms merely have ones different from those of mammals? Also, make the Dsh nomenclature consistent; I see that you've mentioned Dsh-1, but Dish-2 and -3.
  • Clarify this sentence (same section): "This receptor spans the plasma membrane seven times, which means that it belongs to a family of G protein coupled receptors." Are receptors that span the membrane seven times invariably GPCRs?
  • Fix the Rho link ("The noncanonical Planar Cell Polarity pathway" section), which currently takes you to the article about the Greek letter. Here is the Rho GTPase link.
  • Link to a Wikipedia article about ventral patterning, or include a brief explanation of what it is ("The noncanonical Wnt/calcium pathway" section).
  • It is not necessary to specify the full names of CDC42 and CaMKII (same section), as they have their own articles. Also, fix the CDC42 (and RAC1) link to avoid a redirect. The CaMKII link also results in a redirect; here is the correct link.
  • There are probably other redirects that I'm missing. Double-check the links, if you think this is worth correcting (it may not be; also, see last bullet point in this section).
  • Ongoing checking Gpruett2 (talk) 05:12, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
  • The phrase "new pathways are beginning to surface" in the "Other pathways" section is ambiguous and not particularly Wikipedia-y. Could you reword it, or remove it?
  • The words at the beginning of each bullet point in the "Wnt-induced cell responses" section are not complete sentences. Reformat this section with colons in lieu of periods (or try something else, if you prefer; perhaps a table).
  • The following sentence ("Wnt and patterning the neural tube" section) is not appropriate for Wikipedia: "However, the interactions of the Wnt and Bmp pathways remain unclear and further research needs to be done to identify exactly how Bmps and Wnts work together to elicit dorsal cell fates in the developing neural tube."
  • In the "Planar cell polarity" section (mostly): The sonic hedgehog protein name should not be capitalized. Frizzled, Dishevelled, and Axin should always be capitalized. Other protein and/or gene names should be consistently capitalized, or not (see last bullet point in this section).
  • This sentence (same section) needs rewording: "An example of the control of planar cell polarity in insects like Drosophila is determining which direction the tiny hairs on the wings of a fly are aligned."
  • This sentence in the "Axon guidance" section is not especially useful: "Wnt has some diverse roles in axon guidance."
  • The phrase "it is assumed" in the "Stem cells" section is not appropriate for an encyclopedia.
  • Back up these sentences with a citation, or remove them (same section): "Recent research has supported this hypothesis. There are data to suggest that Wnt signaling induces differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into mesoderm and endoderm progenitor cells." This next sentence needs editing to make it more Wikipedia-appropriate: "There are several pieces of evidence to suggest that Wnt signaling is important in stem cell differentiation."
  • The two sentences in the "Environmental enrichment" section need to be clarified: the first is simply inscrutable, while the second is flawed for its use of the phrase "it seems."
  • Add links to other Wikipedia articles wherever possible (within reason) in the first mention of a given topic, particularly for proteins. The alphabet soup of protein names can get dizzying!
  • I would be happy to correct minor, nit-picky things like redirects, inconsistent capitalization, etc., because I am weird and find it satisfying to copy edit. I've already made a couple non-controversial edits, but will hold off on others unless you say otherwise.
  • Feel free to do so Gpruett2 (talk) 05:12, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

Bigger edit suggestions[edit]

  • The "Discovery" section is hard to follow. The information about MMTV and murine breast cancer and its relationship to wingless is presented in a somewhat disjointed fashion, and I found myself having to read the first paragraph multiple times to keep everything straight. Does Wnt have characteristics of both Wg and Int, since it's a portmanteau of the two words? Also, is it necessary to mention the names of the scientists who discovered the various Wnt players? (I know you didn't write the section originally, but those are some things to consider.)
  • Reworded with additions Gpruett2 (talk) 05:14, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
  • The various WNT proteins might be better presented in a table, rather than a lengthy sentence listing them.
  • Added a lovely table with multiple species. Add to it if you wish Gpruett2 (talk) 05:14, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Does "Ligands that act on Wnt signaling" deserve its own section?
  • I'm going to incorporate this under mechanism at a later time Gpruett2 (talk) 05:14, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
  • The image in the "Wnt and patterning the neural tube" section needs a descriptive caption.
  • Speaking of images, I think a few more figures would greatly enhance the article, which is rather text heavy. Images would be especially useful in the sections you added, which are good but rather dense and discuss so many different gene/protein players.
  • Added some lovely images Gpruett2 (talk) 05:14, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
  • In the "Stem cells" section, the last three paragraphs discuss primary sources and probably don't belong in Wikipedia.

Citation edits[edit]

  • Citations 1 and 7 are the same article (but cited slightly differently, hence their going undetected).
  • The citation at the end of the "The noncanonical Wnt/calcium pathway" section is not formatted properly.
  • There should probably be more references in the "Wnt-induced cell responses" section.
  • Please fix this citation ("The noncanonical Wnt/calcium pathway" section), which does not link to anything: "Cdc42 is an important regulator of cell adhesion, migration, and tissue separation.[24]"

Please let me know if you have any questions about my comments. Good luck with your project! Jnims (talk) 01:59, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

  • Thanks for the suggestions and good luck to you as well Gpruett2 (talk) 05:15, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

comments from Biolprof[edit]

  • Consider moving the figure at the top down to the"Foundations of Wnt signaling section"
  • I agree with Julia that the article seems text heavy, but if you can make the first figure much larger, you may not need more figures.

Biolprof (talk) 02:02, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

  • I added more figures. Do they solve this issue? Gpruett2 (talk) 05:17, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

Peer Review: BreCaitlin[edit]

  • Looks really good, super informative
  • Thanks.
  • Could be a little more concise in the history section. I'm not sure if you should but there are a lot of thus and therefore type of words that could just be deleted
  • I have deleted the words you suggested if they were not necessary. I also removed some unnecessary sentences from the History section and left everything that I believe is necessary.
  • Good images, makes the text easier to understand
  • Thanks.

BreCaitlin (talk) 21:20, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

  • Thank you for your suggestions. I hope you continue to enjoy the article. Gpruett2 (talk) 20:50, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Peer Review comments from MChapman5[edit]

  • The figure at the beginning of the article next to the leading section seems a bit out of place. Perhaps you should move it down to the section that talks about the pathways?
  • I deleted this figure since it was a repeat of the other figures.
  • Went through and made minor grammar/spelling changes.
  • Thanks!
  • As stated before, the article seems very text heavy and dense. I think that the figures you use in describing the Wnt Pathway are insightful, but they seem too close together and make the section way too busy. I'm not crazy about the "tunneling" of text between your images. Having pictures on both the left, right, top, and bottom is really overwhelming. Is it at all possible to move this or try and space it out a little without destroying the message you're trying to make?
  • I removed the tunneling and made them staggered. I hope you find it less overwhelming and still informative.
  • I'm not sure the prose fits "encyclopedic" status. For example, you use a lot of: thus, consequently, aforementioned, etc. I went through and tried to delete the ones I thought were the most obvious, but you could double check and polish that up a bit.
  • Thank you for the prose edits.
  • The section "neural tube patterning" seems a bit lengthy. I would suggest breaking this down into a couple subcategories, such as "early neuronal development," "transcription factors and their effects," and "bone morphogenetic proteins" or something like that.
  • This section has been removed and integrated into the section Axis patterning.
  • I have the same criticism for the Stem cell differentiation section. Try and break it up into a couple more subcategories. Less is more!
  • This section has been removed and integrated into the section Cell fate specification.
  • I noticed you have a section for Type II Diabetes but don't have anything under it. If you're going to add information, that's great! But if not, I would delete that heading until a contribution is made.
  • I will be adding this information promptly.
  • Very impressive contribution. You did a great job! MChapman5 (talk) 05:28, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Thank you for your lovely comments. Gpruett2 (talk) 20:47, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Flemingrjf Comments[edit]

  • Nice vocabulary with the portmanteau.
    • Thanks
  • Easy to read introduction and discovery sections.
    • Thanks
  • I feel that the first paragraph under the “canonical and noncanonical pathways” was a little wordy and could be cut down.
    • Done
  • Excellent pictures, an inspiration for the ones that I made.
    • Thanks
  • I am unsure of the reason for making some words bolded, but I am sure there was a method to this.
    • I removed unnecessary bolding, but left pathway names bolded. Specifically, I bolded Wnt signaling pathway, canonical Wnt pathway, noncanonical planar cell polarity pathway, and noncanonical Wnt/calcium pathway.
  • Having more than just two sources to describe the three major Wnt pathways may be nice. I am sure there is a lot of literature that describes the pathways and it shouldn’t be hard to find more sources.
    • Added more sources
  • There is a lot going on in the “Other pathways” as well as the “regulation” sections. Maybe having more sources here could be good.
    • Added more sources
  • Perhaps introductory paragraphs under the “Wnt-induced cell responses” and “clinical implications” could be good.
  • I was a little unsure as to how reactive oxygen species tied in with diabetes, but that might be my fault.
    • Added further source-backed clarification
  • I enjoyed the clarity of the entire piece.
    • Thanks

Flemingrjf (talk) 03:41, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Thank you for your recommendations. Gpruett2 (talk) 21:59, 11 May 2013 (UTC)


  • Do you think you should include what cells are releasing Wnt proteins?
    • I could not find specific cells that produce Wnt, which may mean that any cell can. I don't want to list this unless I can find a source. Any suggestions?
  • With all the domains in the proteins, I find it a little distracting that you include all the proteins that they stand for, e.g. DIX and auxin, which isn't even related to Wnt.
    • Removed all the protein names.
  • I think you should define canonical and non-canonical before you bring up the three types.
    • I think it is more important to establish why those terms are associated with Wnt signaling first and then define them, as it currently is in the paragraph under Canonical and noncanonical pathways.
  • does casein kinase have a wikipedia page?
    • Added a wiki link
  • Other pathways is not justified to the left because of the picture.
    • Fixed
  • Par6 and LGI don't have links
    • Done
  • How does palmitoylation enhance secretion? wouldn't it cause it to get stuck in the membrane?
    • Explained
  • You describe just a few functions of Wnt but don't even name any others.
    • I describe the basic overarching embryonic function categories and the specific functions are listed within those sections. If you think it would be better to list the extensive functions of Wnt, which would be very long, let me know. I condensed them into those paragraphs for the sake of brevity.
  • could you be more descriptive as to how it mediates insulin resistance. You talk about insulin pathways which is going to be distinct from Wnt.
    • Insulin resistance is discussed under the type II diabetes section.
  • You don't talk about cyclins, I feel like those are really important in cancer biology.
    • I believe that cyclins has its own page where it can talk about cancer biology, so there is no point in describing its specifics in this article. I did, however, mention it under cell proliferation
  • link out to ROS
    • Added
  • It seems like a stretch that DNA or protein damage causes problems with insulin sensitivity specifically, was there any other evidence for this link or is it just speculation?
    • Added further clarification

Altogether really great work Maximus155 (talk) 17:34, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Thank you for you suggestions and I hope that you continue to enjoy the article. Gpruett2 (talk) 23:11, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

More comments from Jnims[edit]

Hello again! Thanks for taking my previous suggestions, I hope you found them helpful. Let's start with the things I particularly enjoyed/appreciated:

Good stuff[edit]

  • Lots of informative content
  • Good organization
  • Clear prose
  • Lovely table of proteins
  • Excellent images
    • Thanks

And here are some suggestions for improvement:

Suggested improvments[edit]

General: You can remove "has been shown to" in all of its instances, for the sake of brevity. Instead, just say "Wnt is involved in [such and such]."

  • Done


  • Consider changing the word "classification" in this sentence to something like "variety" or "type:" "The Wnt signaling pathways are a classification of biological signal transduction pathways that regulate embryonic development and other key biological processes."
    • Fixed
  • Rewording suggestion: "This pathway is clinically important since mutations in its components can lead to a variety of cancers and diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, glioblastoma, type II diabetes, and several others.
    • Suggestion: "The clinical importance of this pathway has been demonstrated by mutations that lead to a variety of diseases, including breast and prostate cancer, glioblastoma, type II diabetes, and others."
      • Added your suggestion


  • Although the background about proto-oncogenes is interesting and would be an excellent addition to a paper, I am not sure it fits the encyclopedic framework. In the interest of brevity, perhaps you should merely discuss the direct discovery of Wnt signaling.
    • I do not agree. I believe this section is an appropriate length and that mentioning the discovery of proto-oncogenes, which encouraged the discovery of Int1, is important.
  • Make sure all gene (and genus) names are italicized
    • Done
  • This sentence is a little clunky: "The uncovering of this shared homology was an exciting discovery due to the fact that previous research by Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Eric Wieschaus, who would later win the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for that research, had already elucidated the function of Wg as a segment polarity gene involved in embryonic development."
    • Fixed

Mechanism (especially anything below Canonical and noncanonical pathways)

  • This section could use one or two more sources, since much of the information seems to come from #4 (and #8, earlier).
    • Added

Wnt-induced cell responses

  • This section, especially the first few paragraphs/subsections, could use one or two more sources, since much of the information seems to come from #13.
    • Added
  • This sentence could be reworded for brevity: "The effect that Wnt signaling has on insulin activity is that it increases a cell's sensitivity to insulin"
    • Suggestion: "Wnt signaling increases a cell's sensitivity to insulin."
      • Changed

Best of luck! Jnims (talk) 19:53, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Thank you for your suggestions and I hope you continue to enjoy the article. Gpruett2 (talk) 00:05, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

Diabetes and medical information[edit]

Right now we have a 2004 source — "Association of the gene encoding wingless-type mammary tumor virus integration-site family member 5B (WNT5B) with type 2 diabetes.". American journal of human genetics 75 (5): 832–43. PMID 15386214. — supporting an association. Per WP:Meddate, can we get a more recent review article? The risk factor list I've assembled at DVT#Risk_factors is all cited to more recent review articles, for example. Biosthmors (talk) 23:40, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Figures illegible[edit]

I can't read these figures:

  • Canonical Wnt pathway
  • Noncanonical PCP pathway
  • Noncanonical Wnt/calcium pathway

They're too small to read in thumbnails, and when I click on the thumbnails, they're still too small, and the black print on dark blue background is still hard to read. Most illustrations use color for a reason.

And why did somebody delete the old figures, which I though gave a good explanation for somebody who wanted a synopsis before they read through the text? --Nbauman (talk) 10:02, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

This entry is screwed up[edit]

You know, in many ways, this article is worse than it was before you started. I was reading the article in the NEJM on WNT1 and osteogenesis imperfecta, and I came back to this entry to review the WNT pathway. I couldn't figure it out any more. Among other things, we had 2 good illustrations, with good captions, that you deleted.

I'm not going to give a detailed critique. But it seems to have a lot more technical terms than it used to. See WP:WORDS "All else being equal, try to use as common, unshortened, simple and concrete words as possible. Using needlessly uncommon, advanced, shortened and abstract words will only make Wikipedia less readable."

This is an agglomeration of facts (which is very easy to do in cell and molecular biology), but it doesn't put a few facts together and explain what their relevance is. If you read Campbell's Biology, you'll see that he doesn't even use a lot of technical terms. He doesn't even give the detailed protein cascades and stuff, because first he wants to make sure that his students understand the basic concepts.

For example, let's compare the section on "Discovery" to the old version (Biosthmors edited out a comment judged to be a violation of WP:NPA). The original version started out with a clear statement of how it started out. It should be a clear statement since they got it from Varmus' original 1982 article. Varmus is somebody who knows how to explain these things and get to the point better than you can. And why did you remove the reference to the 1982 article? Some of us want to read the original sources when we study the history of science.

Your version is longer than it was, but it doesn't give me more information. Why mention "proviral tagging"? How does that contribute to the reader's understanding of whatever it is you're trying to convey in this paragraph? Why mention "proviral tagging" if the reader doesn't know what it means? Why throw in one more confusing unfamiliar term that doesn't do anything?

If you followed MOS:NOTED, you could reduce this entry by 25% and say the same thing. What is this "exciting" business? I don't need you to tell me that shared homology was an "exciting discovery".

Don't take my word for it. Print out the original version and your version, show them to somebody who hasn't taken freshman biology yet -- like a music major -- and ask which version is easier to understand.

P.S. After writing this I read your course assignment and saw that you finished on 8 May. So I don't think my comments will have much influence. I'll have to read both versions carefully. If you're taking out all the references to original historical articles like Varmus 1982, you really are tearing it up. --Nbauman (talk) 11:26, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

I am the instructor for this course and would like to add a brief response. First and foremost, please remember the key pillar of WP:Civility, something I emphasized to my students at the beginning of the class. Secondly, I think this article, overall, does a good job of "Writing one level down" as per WP:TECHNICAL, which is to say that I believe this is an article on a graduate topic and should be aimed at readers with some undergraduate background in biology, rather than a music major (to use your example). This does not, however, negate the importance of making the introduction understandable as per WP:UPFRONT. It appears that you reverted this section, but I understand that Gpruett2 is interested in continueing to edit this article (even though the assignment is done) and I think that with your WP editing experience and her knowledge of the subject, together you may be able to greatly improve the introductory sections, if you are both willing and interested. Biolprof (talk) 23:10, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for your comments. I disagree about the importance of the details. The protein cascades are important because this is a signaling pathway. Thus, listing the names of the proteins involved will be technical because those are the names they were given. So listing some technical terms is necessary. They are made uncomplicated through the use of links to other Wikipedia articles. Just because a term is somewhat technical in nature does not mean it should be excluded particularly if it is vital to the explanation of the pathway.
In response to your comments about the Discovery section, how is the version it has been reverted to better? It doesn't give a time progression about how the pathway was discovered. Also, about the use of a different source other than the primary 1982 article, in Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources, it states that Wikipedia prefers secondary sources over primary sources. Listing the primary source is fine, but it can be controversial. The source I used for this section was by one of the authors of the 1982 paper. Also, if you want to still include that paper, list it under External Links or use it as a source. I also grant that the section may have been a little long, but that does not mean that its structure was incorrect. The proviral tagging was the method used by the researchers to identify int1. I would agree with you that what I wrote doesn't give any extra information; what was changed was the sentence structure in order to demonstrate how all the components listed in the previous version fit together. Also, just because a term is unfamiliar does not mean that it should be excluded because the readers have a right to see the term and learn more about it if they wish. Also, the shared homology was an exciting discovery because it showed the connection between int1 and embryonic development. Also, the term exciting came from Nusse himself.
As for the pictures, I changed them so that they would be consistent for the three major pathways. If you think they are too small, then they can be made bigger in text and in their wikimedia page. However, if you want to keep those pictures that were removed, then find ones for the other main pathways that are similar.
Finally, this is an article that can be changed, so there is no need to get defensive about changes made to it. Especially do not cuss at your fellow editors. Thank you for your shared interest in making this article better. Gpruett2 (talk) 20:19, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
This thread led me to make this edit to a paragraph. (And FYI in this post I will present questions I don't intend to be answered directly. They are to stimulate thought and productive edits.) Do people find this edit to be an improvement? I tried to make things digestible for readers. I reduced word count. I was bold and removed the term "proviral tagging", among other changes to the paragraph. Or is that term seen as helpful to readers? (I also took the liberty to remove a personal attack above. I regret that a new editor was "bitten" by this injustice.) I was confused a bit by the phrase "genes produce tumors". Perhaps the activation of genes that promote tumor growth would be a better way to reword this? Or simply replacing the word "produce" with "induce"? As for the word "exciting", it can be seen as a word that is to be used with hesitation. We want to make sure we don't elevate something that might be only Nusse's opinion into Wikipedia's voice as plain fact. In cases like these, one could attribute the word to Nusse. But that could be unnecessary for the purposes of an encyclopedia. I do have a bit of a concern that the Discovery section unnecessarily presents the history and evolution of thought within the discipline: phrases such as "this increase in research would lead to", "was not fully appreciated until", and "quickly became clear" are examples. Are these time-dependent details necessary to explain to readers the Discovery of the Wnt signalling pathway? It seems like some of this content could be excised or moved to a history section. And one can always present primary sources and secondary sources as two citations behind a sentence, though yes, secondary sources are preferred. Biosthmors (talk) 18:36, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
To throw out some ideas, maybe we could also reword the section heading "Discovery" to "Discovery and etymology" or perhaps even "Background and etymology". Best. Biosthmors (talk) 18:49, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
I made some changes to the Discovery section in order to improve the wording and add clarification. Specifically I reworded the sentence about the "production" of tumors. Does this edit make more sense? I have also removed the phrases about the evolution of thought.
Also, I agree that Background and etymology might be a better section title since this text in this section covers more than just the discovery. Please let me know if you have any further suggestions. Gpruett2 (talk) 01:50, 12 September 2013 (UTC)


Excuse me for talking to you in the way a newspaper editor talks to a writer, which may not be appropriate for Wikipedia.

Let's take one thing at a time. The following is a Wikipedia guideline that we should follow.

WP:NOTJOURNAL "Scientific journals and research papers. A Wikipedia article should not be presented on the assumption that the reader is well versed in the topic's field. Introductory language in the lead and initial sections of the article should be written in plain terms and concepts that can be understood by any literate reader of Wikipedia without any knowledge in the given field before advancing to more detailed explanations of the topic. While wikilinks should be provided for advanced terms and concepts in that field, articles should be written on the assumption that the reader will not or cannot follow these links, instead attempting to infer their meaning from the text."

The following is an essay from PLoS Computational Biology which I think is a good implementation of that Wikipedia guideline:

[Know your audience] "Wikipedia is not primarily aimed at experts; therefore, the level of technical detail in its articles must be balanced against the ability of non-experts to understand those details. When contributing scientific content, imagine you have been tasked with writing a comprehensive scientific review for a high school audience. It can be surprisingly challenging explaining complex ideas in an accessible, jargon-free manner. But it is worth the perseverance. You will reap the benefits when it comes to writing your next manuscript or teaching an undergraduate class."

Let's start with the lead:

I'm willing to let you edit the lead any way you want, provided that any literate reader of Wikipedia without any knowledge of the field can understand it. They should understand every term without having to follow the Wikilinks. That's the guideline we have to follow. The advice of PLOS is that you should write it for a high school audience.

If you want to get into something more complicated, you can do that further down in the article.

Do we all agree with that? --Nbauman (talk) 23:59, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

I definitely agree that notjournal is a great thing to follow. Thanks for your comments. They've been noted, and I don't think you'll find any disagreement. In a job, though, the power dynamics differ from being dependent on volutneers, so we shouldn't bite. Thanks again for your comments, and I hope this article improves further. Biosthmors (talk) 23:14, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
So how do you want to change the introduction to make it understandable to a high school audience? Do you want to do it? Or should I just change it back to the last understandable version? Or should I change it back to the last understandable version until you have time to write your own understandable version? --Nbauman (talk) 03:54, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I just made some changes to try to make it more understandable by combining some of the two versions and rearranging some sentences. If you can identify sentences or phrases that still need to be simplified, then I can try to work on it a bit more over the next week. It is sometimes hard for me to determine what a high school audience would understand, so your input on this aspect is especially appreciated.Biolprof (talk) 19:09, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
And I made those copyedits to make the lead more accessible. Biosthmors (talk) 20:02, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
If you bring up bite, I can see your point. I'll read this more carefully and make some supportive comments later. -- Nbauman (talk) 04:31, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

OK, when I, as an ordinary reader trying to brush up on the WNT pathway, read today's introduction, I can't follow it.

Here's why I came to this WP entry. I read an article in the New England Journal of Medicine about a WNT1 mutation that caused osteogenesis imperfecta. Now, osteogenesis is usually caused by a mutation that causes a defective collagen. I can understand how defective collagen can cause osteogenesis imperfecta. But how does a WNT1 mutation cause osteogenesis imperfecta? The NEJM article says that it's expressed in the bone marrow, where hematopoietic cells regulate bone formation. So I'm trying to learn more about WNT so I can follow the literature and find out how much they know about this hematopoietic mechanism.

You say:

The Wnt signaling pathways are a group of signal transduction pathways made of proteins that pass signals from outside of a cell through cell surface receptors to the inside of the cell.

OK. But then what happens? It's important to know that the end of the WNT pathway is that it continues to the nucleus, and then to the DNA, where it expresses a gene. That's what you left out.

That basic, important explanation was reinforced clearly by Figure 1 and Figure 2.

The WNT pathway is ultimately controlling the expression of genes. If you don't understand that -- you're lost. And a high school student might not know that yet.

I think you have to put that in the introduction.

If you're writing for a high school student (or even me) you have to say that the WNT pathway goes from the membrane to the nucleus where it binds to DNA and expresses a gene. --Nbauman (talk) 17:48, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Your comments were very helpful in trying to identify the source of our differences. Describing the downstream effect was necessary for your understanding, but transcriptional regulation is not the direct downstream effect of all three pathways, just the canonical pathway. It may or may not be a downstream effect for the noncononical pathways as they can have many branching points. The previous version emphasized the common part of the pathways because the multiple pathways get quite confusing. I have composed a sentence that I hope is clear and appropriate for the lead about the downstream effect of each pathway. Please let me know if you think more work is needed and, if so, what is needed.
A few other comments from the perspective of a Bio Prof: (1) The NEJM is written for professionals, not "an ordinary reader," as you describe yourself. I'd be happy to have a curious and interested person like you in any of my classes. (2) I looked at the NEJM article you referenced and saw that the authors only looked at effects on the canonical pathway, but there is no reason to believe that the noncanonical pathways are not also affected with the WNT1 mutation. (3) If it was obvious why the WNT1 mutation caused osteogenesis imperfect, the article would more likely have been in the Obscure Journal of Medicine than the NEJM. This is a novel finding and may have lots of possible explanations. (4) If you are still interested in the topic and have access to a medical library, a useful review article may be found here:, but that may be more than you want to know. Biolprof (talk) 20:49, 26 May 2013 (UTC)